US shipments of imported orange juice stopped


January 13, 2012 3:26:52 PM PST
All shipments of imported orange juice have been stopped here in the United States as inspectors test for an unapproved chemical.

U.S. regulators are now looking at orange juice imports from all countries and they plan to destroy or ban any products if tests find even low level of a prohibited fungicide.

The government announced that trace amounts of the unapproved chemical called carbendazim found last month in orange juice products from Brazil, which produces about 41 percent of U.S. imports.

Carbendazim is used in crops in many countries but is not approved to be used in the U.S. on oranges.

The fungicide has been linked to an increase risk of liver tumors in animals.

"Not all of the orange juice that U.S. consumers drink comes from oranges that were grown here in the U.S.," said Patty Lovera of consumer rights group Food & Water Watch. "And just because a chemical is illegal here doesn't mean that other countries don't allow it to be used."

The Food and Drug Administration also is screening juice already for sale in the U.S. market because products often contain a mixture of imported and domestic juice.